February 28: Land Bank plan update | Wolf has $777 million infrastructure wish list | Beury rebirth ahead

As we reported in January, the Philadelphia Land Bank updated its strategic plan with new targets for transforming vacant property into market rate development, affordable housing, community gardens and side yards. As the plan is expected to head before City Council, Next City examines the updated Land Bank plan as an attempt at balance. Housing advocates caution that while the number of affordable units matters, so too does location as real estate development kicks up in the city’s dense core. Council President Darrell Clarke states that the new plan will strategically focus the Land Bank’s acquisitions on properties that will get back “on the tax rolls and provide housing, be it workforce, be it affordable, or be it market-rate.”

Governor Wolf is asking the Trump administration for at least $777 million for highway and transit improvements, plus another $1.1 billion for high-speed rail in the Philly suburbs. Keystone Crossroads’ Eleanor Klibanoff goes over PennDOT and the Governor’s office’s initial list of projects across the state.

Entrepreneurialism is nearing a 40-year low and the pace of IPOs has slowed, according to CNN and Forbes. The National League of Cities (NLC) looks at how smaller cities like Chattanooga and Kansas City have successfully coordinated efforts between the city, businesses, local universities, and nonprofits to deliberately plan and leverage funds for innovative solutions. NLC also goes into the history of the SBA, the agency that plays the most crucial role in driving entrepreneurship at the federal level.

Councilman Oh’s proposal to take control of on-street parking and collections came to a screeching halt on Monday. The city solicitor pointed out that the ordinance was unlawful, as PPA is a state-run agency and “would have to dissolve itself.” The Inquirer covers the extremely brief hearing.

Healthy homes and cities have been en vogue in urban design these days. Developers are jumping on the bandwagon, using the “wellness” buzzword as a sell for luxury condominiums. The Atlantic looks into the distinction between “health” and “wellness,” and how this housing model contradicts accessibility to public health and “very quickly devolves into social inequities.”

The famous Beury Building may be the next revitalization story in North Broad Street’s renaissance. Kensington-based Shift Capital has smartly leveraged redevelopment aid and low-income-housing tax credits to redevelop the vacant 14-story art deco landmark into mixed-income apartments, offices, and ground floor retail. Jacob Adelman reports on the $33 million project that could help catalyze further development on Erie and Germantown Avenues and Broad Street.

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